Firefighters Protection Act: Taking preventative steps to protect firefighters from toxic compounds

Mar 14, 2024 | 42-5, Bills, Blog, Governance, Legislature, Video | 0 comments

British Columbia has been a leader in legislating presumptive clauses in the workers compensation system for firefighters that are diagnosed with certain forms of cancers. Rather than forcing firefighters to prove the cancer is a result of exposure from their workplace, we presume it is.

It is a necessary reactive measure.

I introduced the Firefighters Protection Act, which is a preventative measure to protect firefighters.

While there has been tremendous advances in firefighters protective gear and fire suppression foams, they contain toxic compounds called poly- and per-flouroalkyls (PFAS) that threaten the long-term health of firefighters.

This bill creates provincial standards for the transitioning away from the protective uniforms and foams that contain PFAS over the next few years and introduces consistent protocols for handling contaminated gear.

I thank the British Columbia Professional Firefighters Association (BCPFFA) for their powerful advocacy with all Members of the Legislative Assembly to advance this important issue. This Private Members Bill is a tribute to their work.



A. Olsen presented a bill intituled Firefighter Protection Act.

A. Olsen:

I move that a bill in intituled the Firefighter Protection Act, of which notice has been given in my name on the order paper, be introduced and read at first time now.

Last week we met with members of the British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters Association. They advanced several points of advocacy for the provincial government. One of those is addressed in this bill. Polyfluoroalkyls, or PFAS, are compounds that are in firefighter personal protective gear and fire suppression foams. The advances in protective gear offer front-line firefighters short-term protection. However, the compounds that provide extra protection have been shown to have long-term negative health consequences.

We’ve been willing to support firefighters once they have cancer, but let’s take action to prevent cancer in the first place. The Vancouver fire department has already begun implementing PFAS-free uniforms. Now I call on the province to show leadership by setting provincial standards and a timeline for fire services to limit firefighters’ exposure to PFAS in their uniforms and foams.

We need to ensure that we do not create a two-tiered system where large urban fire services with resources are able to protect their first responders, while smaller, rural, mostly volunteer services are not. The lives of all our firefighters must be a priority over cost. This bill sets a timeline for the discontinued use of PFAS in firefighters’ uniforms and fire suppression foams and standards for wash and storage protocols and facilities. It creates equity for firefighters, no matter where they serve, so we can look to them and their family members and say: “We’re doing all we can to protect them and their loved ones.”

Let’s pass this bill and give our fire departments the fiscal tools they need to ensure their facilities and gear protect their professional and volunteer members. When the call goes out, our firefighters across the province answer. They put their well-being in danger to respond. Now it’s our turn.

The Speaker: Members, the question is first reading of the bill.

Motion approved.

A. Olsen:

I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for the second reading in the next sitting of the House after today.

Bill M206, Firefighters Protection Act, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This

Share this post with your friends!